One of the best parts of getting to go to the ABC expo this past September was getting to meet so many wonderful people. Talking with established business owners and those just starting out was a real pleasure and most of the time I was blown away by the honest desire to help parents and offer quality products for families. Talking with Crystal and Jeremy Goss from Ness bags was truly a great pleasure. Their breastfeeding journey story (including pumping for preemies and baby latching for the first time at 5 months!) led to me high-fiving and then hugging Crystal. They are a great couple with an incredible vision, passion, and desire to support moms and care for babies. I love their bags (want one for Sugarbaby and I!), I love what they are doing as a company and I knew right away I wanted to share them with the Leakies. So it is with great enthusiasm that I bring you this amazing giveaway and introduce to this dynamic new company.
TLB: What should TLB readers know about Ness?
Crystal: Functional, fashionable, fabulous. If need is the mother of invention, leave it to a mother to invent Ness Bags. Room for breast pump, cooler for safe milk storage, and the requisite diapers, bottles, binkies, and items Mom and Dad carry, like water bottle, wallet, books. Designed for fashionable moms on the go, in collaboration with a camera bag engineer, to hit every detail.
TLB: What inspired you to start your company?
Crystal: In 2009, I got frustrated. I loathed carrying the awful, black canvas breast pump tote that every nursing mother recognizes. But I couldn’t find a bag that had plenty of storage for a pump and didn’t look like a traditional diaper or pump bag. I also wanted it to have a cooler, to preserve the precious breast milk, and a discreet, stylish presentation. It was too much to ask of the market. So, with the encouragement of my husband Jeremy, she set out to design her own.
Collaborations with a camera bag designer and an engineer helped me create the perfect baby bag and along came my first prototype, containing every feature I was looking for. It was a functional and fashionable diaper bag I could share with other stylish mothers always on the go.
But the mission wasn’t complete. An involved and passionate volunteer to preemie babies and families of compromised births, I still hadn’t found a name for the company and its line of bags. Then I photographed the film premiere of “Project: ELI,” a documentary for families expecting a child with spina bifida. Moved, by grace, by God, by tiny newborn soldiers fighting for their lives, it was there in that screening that I understood that my line of diaper bags would be for the babies as much as it was for the moms.
Thus Ness Bags was born. Named after the Hebrew word for “miracle.” Each bag design is named for a special baby and its journey to survive birth, or an organization devoted to helping newborns and families in their struggle. Percentages of the sales go to support featured organizations that educate and support these babies and families.
Ness Bags exists to inspire and encourage mothers while raising awareness and educating about issues like prematurity, stillbirth, and birth defects. We want to build a community where any mother can learn from and share with other mothers, and grow into an even better mama than she already is.
Diaper bags aren’t just for diapers. They hold lovies, breast pumps, bottles, binkies, cameras, billfolds and more.
Ness Bags hold hope.
TLB: With two little ones at home, how do you balance family and growing your business?
Crystal: The work/life balance is something I am always striving to improve on. In addition to Ness, I have also had a photography business for 6 years. We have tried several childcare options while I have worked from home. I kept my oldest son home with me every day when he was a baby, and I scheduled my shoots around my husband’s work schedule. After he was one year old, we started taking him to a friend’s house two days a week so that I could focus on my work those days and keep him home with me the rest of the week. Once my second son came along, we decided to keep them home with me again, and we hired a nanny to help on my work days. This allowed me to be there for my kids when they needed me and continue to nurse my youngest son every day, but I could also shut myself in my office while the nanny was here and focus on working. When the idea to start Ness came along, and after my youngest stopped nursing, we realized that I needed more reliable childcare in an environment we trusted. Both of our kids (4.5 and 2.5 years old) now attend preschool 3 days a week and spend the rest of the week at home.
I like to give my kids my undivided attention when they are home with me, and for us, this has been the best way to help accomplish that goal. I still have some weeks that are crazier than others where I have to find time to work while the kids are here. We all just try to go with the flow and live one day at a time! We feel blessed to have two easygoing kids who have made our lifestyle much easier than it could be.
TLB: What was the most encouraging thing anyone said to you or did for you during your breastfeeding journey?
Crystal: My oldest son was born 9 weeks premature, and he had a number of preemie obstacles to overcome before he could come home from the NICU. We spent 6 weeks in the hospital with him, and I was determined to nurse him. It was the only thing I felt like I could do for him at that time. So I pumped religiously, but I had so much trouble with my milk supply. I had a lactation consultant who was a constant light and encouragement for me during that time. She helped me get the information I needed to increase my milk supply. She worked to help me put him to the breast as soon as possible. But Brayson had a lot of trouble with his suck, swallow, breathe reflex. He would choke and desat very easily. So I had to learn to bottle feed him in a way that he could handle. We had to use specific nipples that he wouldn’t choke on, and he had to eat very slowly. We did what we could to get him home with us as soon as possible, but I never gave up on breastfeeding him. I continued to pump exclusively for 5 months, and I would continue to bring him to the breast to attempt nursing. Many people told me I should give up. After all, my milk supply a struggle to keep up, I was wearing myself out, and he would never get it at this point. However, one day when he was 5 months old, I brought him to the breast and he LATCHED! And he was a champ! And I was able to nurse him until he was about 10.5 months old and my milk supply was almost nonexistent. If it hadn’t been for that lactation consultant, I don’t think I would have stuck with it. But I kept her positive words in my head whenever I felt discouraged, and it really paid off!
(Keep up with Crystal on her charming blog, I love her posts and I love her tag line: “Because every life inspires.” Crystal’s life certainly does! You’re also going to want to check out their FUN family holiday video, I promise you’re going to love this family!)
This giveaway is for two beautiful Ness Bags! Two lucky entries will be randomly selected to win their choice of one of Ness’s beautiful bags. Ness currently has two styles available in four colors each. Both styles are made of a wonderful man-made leather and two different needs right now. The winners can choose between:
Mamie bag – retails for $269.00, (with a preorder special of $228.65)
The Mamie bag is the bag that carries it all! It has a detachable insulated cooler on the bottom for storing milk, which can also be used as a changing station when not storing milk or snacks. It offers adjustable inserts inside for custom organization of inner contents, five exterior pockets, and adjustable straps for shoulder or cross-body wear. The Mamie bag is named after one of the organizations we are supporting – Mamie’s Poppy Plates.
Eli bag – retails for $179.00, (with a current preorder special of $152.15)
The Eli bag is the versatile bag that allows you to have your arms free to hug the most important little people in your life! It is a smaller bag that is perfect for quick trips, carrying toddler items, or a fun day at the park! It offers three interior and exterior pockets. Adjustable straps allow you to carry this bag three ways. Crystal shares that he favorite way of wearing this bag is as a backpack when she’s at the park with my kids. The Eli bag is named for another organization we support – Project ELI.
This giveaway is now closed!
To be entered, visit the Ness site to see more photos and more details on each bag then return to leave a comment on this post stating which bag in what color you’d like to win and include the link to you bag pick. This entry is REQUIRED in order to be entered for a chance at the giveaway. Please be sure head over to the Ness Bags Facebook page and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.
For a second entry share this giveaway in some public forum (Facebook, Twitter, parenting forum, etc.) and return with the url of where you shared it and leave that in a comment. Please note, you can share it where you like and as many times as you like, but only one will count for a second entry.
Important: only a possible two entries per person, any additional entries will be deleted and abuse will possibly result in all of an individual’s entries being deleted. Please be patient in waiting for comments to show up as some have to be moderated from the spam filter. Thank you.
That’s it – two simple tasks and you’re entered twice for a chance at a great giveaway. Thanks to Ness Bags for their generous giveaway. Crystal and Jeremy are accepting preorders and offering a preorder discount in their online store and will begin shipping in January 2012. This giveaway will remain open through January 3, 2012 and is open to international entries. Good luck and have fun!
The winners have been randomly selected, congrats to…
I LOVE the Mamie in gray!!! Gorgeous.
http://nessstore.com/mamie-10.html – I would like the Mamie in purple for my wife.
Congratulations to both of our winners and a huge thank you to Crystal and Jeremy from Ness for this amazing giveaway. If you weren’t one of our lucky winners, don’t forget to order your bag! Use the code: “TLB10″ for a sweet discount just for Leakies.